Every week in our Celebrate Recovery Meetings we close our large group time with the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Neibuhr. In our meetings we recite the entire prayer and towards the end there is a line that sticks out to me. It says “so that I may be reasonably happy in this life…” I’ve struggled over the years with this phrase. Why not super-duper happy? How about a rockin’, awesome life filled with joy, peace, patience and provision? Well…I’m learning that God’s version of a “full life” and mine are oh so different.
Life happens and it has a way of taking the wind out of your sails. Not every day is going to be perfect. If it were we wouldn’t need a savior. I’m learning to rest in my brokenness. I’m learning to just sit with my pain, my emotions, my journey and breathe, simply breathe.
What does my reasonably happy look like? It looks like a marriage that has been filled with many wonderful moments, but also years of chronic depression, anxiety and isolation/withdrawal (from both partners). My reasonably happy looks like a family affected by the shrapnel that we all bear from stepping on the landmine known as autism. Broken relationships, damaged trust, dreams and goals that are dead. Grief that has never been realized and joy that has been interrupted. These are all a part of my reasonably happy. Mixed in are five amazing, beautiful, healthy children and a husband that passionately cares and provides for me through his own pain. Covering my reasonably happy is a banner of love held by my creator and redeemer, Jesus Christ. It’s a wild ride, a mixed up life, a paradox of grace, but it’s MY reasonably happy, and everyday it’s becoming more holy, more whole, more fulfilling, more comfortable.
The next part of that line says “…and supremely happy with you forever in the next. AMEN!” That’s the promise. This messy, broken, hurting, fragmented life will be made supremely happy in the presence of God. FOREVER…AMEN!!! I can hold onto that when my son is in full-blown meltdown mode. I can cling to this promise when my husband hasn’t engaged me physically, emotionally or romantically in weeks. I can trust in this fact when my children are fighting, the silence is as loud as the screaming and the numbers on my scale are sliding in the wrong direction. Forever……it’s so much longer than the here and now. Forever…..it’s so much bigger than the few years of temporal pain. Forever…..it’s more than my mind can comprehend, but my heart…my heart can believe it, trust it, wrap around this glimpse of eternity.
So next time I’m literally buried by a mountain of laundry, crying myself to sleep or holding someone else as they cry themselves to sleep I’ll know that this is just reasonably happy. My circumstances don’t change my eternal security. My emotions can’t control what happens to me in this life or the next. I’m being held. I’m being kept. I’m being loved with a big, supreme love and that makes me beyond happy. That’s a joy unspeakable and FULL of glory.